The workshop schedule for Pueblo, is as follows:

Wednesday December 9th, 2017.  7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where:  Pueblo Community College, Student Center, Suite 201 A.

7:30 a.m.
      Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m.      Welcoming: ATM Fundamentals and Their Role in Colorado’s Water Plan
John Stulp, Special Policy Advisor to the Governor for Water and Chairman of the IBCC

8:45 a.m.      Survey to be Distributed to Participants

9:15 a.m.      Case Study: North Sterling Irrigation District
Jim Yahn, Manager, North Sterling Irrigation District, Sterling

 9:45 a.m.      Break

10:00 a.m.    An Economic Perspective on Valuing ATMs
 Brett Bovee, Intermountain Regional Director, WestWater Research LLC, Fort Collins

10:35 a.m.    Impediments of Implementing ATMs
Leah Martinsson Esq., Berg Hill Greenleaf & Ruscitti LLP, Boulder

11:25 a.m.    The Role of Ditch Companies in Promoting ATMs
John McKenzie, Executive Director, DARCA, Boulder
John Wiener, Research Associate, Institute of Behavioral Science, Boulder

Noon              Lunch (Provided)


Why Have These Workshops?

Colorado’s ditch and reservoir companies have a fascinating and storied history in the development of the state. Many were created by the entrepreneurs of their time – bankers, speculators, and developers, as well as a substantial farmer base. Over time, most of these ditch companies have become predominantly farmer owned, but in some areas of the state the farmer base has become significantly diminished due to competing pressures for water resources.  DARCA is dedicated to enhancing the prosperity of ditch companies, their shareholders, and the service areas of these ditch systems.  Maintaining a productive irrigated agricultural base goes hand in hand with prosperous ditch companies.

The workshops will address how Colorado’s valuable irrigated agricultural lands can be protected for future generations by the creation and adoption of alternatives to permanent agricultural dry-up.  Called “Alternative Transfer Methods” (ATMs), should be important voluntary tools that can provide water to a growing population in the state while still being beneficial to farmers, ranchers, and ditch and reservoir companies.

ATM’s are a collection of different techniques for the allocation and distribution of agricultural water. While traditional transfer methods have left farms dry and non-irrigable, ATM’s strive to maintain a healthy agricultural economy, while providing water sharing opportunities for municipal, industrial, and environmental purposes. Some of the ATM programs include: interruptible supply agreements, long-term rotational fallowing, municipal-agricultural water use sharing, water cooperatives, water bank storage and management, deficit/partial irrigation practices, alternate cropping types, and flex markets.

Colorado’s Water Plan outlines and presents these tools including: the availability of grants; examples of implementation; and existing ATM legislation.  While ATMs look like a sensible and important tool to remedy water problems, the adoption has lagged behind the expectations of many – attributed to technical, legal, institutional, social, and financial obstacles. The impediments associated with ATMs include: high transaction costs associated with water court processes, engineering and legal fees; water rights administration issues; water providers needing permanence and certainty of long-term supply; infrastructure constraints; and water quality issues. With that said, DARCA is keenly interested in learning from ditch companies and their farmer/rancher shareholders what makes sense to them.

DARCA’s ATMs workshops will go over topics including the fundamentals of currently proposed ATMs and their role in Colorado’s Water Plan, an economist’s perspective of ATMs, an in depth discussion of the problems of implementing ATMs, how DARCA is helping to promote ATMs, and most importantly, the concerns of ditch companies and their shareholders. While impediments do exist, creative minds should be able to come up with solutions that will foster the adoption of ATMs so that Colorado’s agricultural water supplies are more secure for future generations.



Northern Water: 220 Water Ave, Berthoud, CO 80513 (800) 369-7246

Pueblo Community College:  900 W. Orman Ave., Student Center, Suite 201A, Pueblo, CO 81004 (719) 549-3074